Saturday, June 19, 2021

family style education

An interesting article about a return to the one room schoolhouse ideal for American education has been circulating through the Clear Spring School community, as we have embarked on our own path in that direction. As in many things, Clear Spring School has been ahead of the curve. The article in Forbes can be found here:

The notion of education taking place across different ages—where students are also teachers, and where team-based education proliferates—is indeed an exciting vision for the future. In fact, it’s exactly what happens in our modern-day workplaces and ideally in our democracy too.

And in our families as well. In an industrialized view of education, size matters and the tendency is for schools to become of enormous size in which the individual is marginalized. In the one room school house approach, families are involved and made important, and the learning is supercharged in all directions. 

One of the first truly progressive educators, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi described the formula in his books Henry and Gertrude, and How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. The relationship between children of various ages forming family-like bonds and through which the medical school model of see one, do one, teach one can be practiced is key. And this simple formula should prevail in all schools.

But then of course, to see one, do one, and teach one, requires that you have something to do other than sitting through mind numbing lectures or thumbing through books or what's online. That's where the Clear Spring School model has the opportunity to excel. We do stuff. Wood shop, music, art, sewing, the culinary arts and the bee garden all add substance and depth to learning and a means through which our kids can show one another and prove to themselves what they can do.

Today I'll be making a presentation via zoom to the Alabama Woodworking Guild prior to a class I'll teach there in August.

Make, fix and create.

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